What part of the world has the most junkyards?
April 1, 2016 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some 500 square mile area of the world with giant piles of machine parts. Junkyards would be good. But any piles of former machinery would still work. And it doesn't have to be cars. Planes. Boats. Anything scrap worthy but still semi-useful would work. SO where should I be looking?
posted by rileyray3000 to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's Alang, in India, where they dismantle/scrap ships by hand, after piloting them onto the shore. I doubt the area totals 500 square miles, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might check out the ship breaking yards in Bangladesh.
posted by stinkfoot at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might be interested in what are known as aircraft boneyards. I don't know if any equal 500 sq miles, but there's a good list on Wikipedia.
posted by barchan at 12:40 PM on April 1, 2016

The biggest aircraft boneyard looks to be about 2 square miles in size, if I'm doing my "1,300 football pitches" conversion correctly.

The ship-breaking yards mentioned by Thorzdad and stinkfoot come up in Edward Burtynsky's Manufactured Landscapes, which also travels to a couple of other junkyards that might be interesting.
posted by clawsoon at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I once spent some time with a friend near his home in Maine where dooryards were a thing and we definitely cruised down many a backroad with huge heaping piles of equipment, non functional vehicles, lobster traps and all sorts of junk pile around and in front of homes.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:19 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

The ship breaking yards are probably the biggest ground area, but I doubt ANYWHERE has anything NEAR a '500 square mile' junkyard.
posted by easily confused at 4:28 PM on April 1, 2016

My uncle knows a guy near Bove, MN (well, Bove was getting too crowded, so he moved north a few years back, buuuut...), who owns a 40-footer full of broken snow-blowers. Also, he buys all the Buick Opels he sees for sale. He likes Opels: he tears out the passenger seat to put in a minibike because they always break down, a'course. Great cars, Opels. Besides the Opels, discarded Opel passenger seats, and trailer of broken snow-throwers, he used to have a lot of discarded electrical equipment unit someone ratted him out to the EPA.

I could go on like this for a while: dude sounded genuinely scary. Want me to get his address?
posted by wenestvedt at 4:52 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think op is looking for a part of the world with a loy of junkyards in a 500 sq mi area, not one 500 sq mi junkyard
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:21 PM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah I'm looking for a place with a LOT of Junkyards.
posted by rileyray3000 at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2016

The biggest scrap company in the world has a ton of locations in California... I haven't looked closely at the list but my guess is your personal 500 mile Graceland is somewhere outside LA.
posted by stinkfoot at 12:50 AM on April 2, 2016

NYC is a pretty heavily developed area- I know Brooklyn used to be rife with them. 500 sq miles from midtown gets you to Philly/Newark and all the New Jersey in between (including old boatyard on Staten Island). I imagine any other post-industrial metropolis would be similar (Detroit area? Mexico City?)
500 sq miles is big. You can get a lot of nothing too.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

If scrap electronics counts, look into Guiyu, China.

And this book might have more suggestions:

Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade
posted by MsMolly at 12:17 AM on April 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

scrap worthy but still semi-useful

Interpreting this broadly, it seems like you are looking for things out-of-service but that could still potentially have some use.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is 1004 square miles in area, although a lot of it is going to be more natural areas. Not sure what percentage of the area is buildings and machinery.
posted by yohko at 12:51 PM on April 21, 2016

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